Accessible Links in Microsoft Office

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What are accessible links?

Links in documents can be made accessible by:

  • Not Using “Click Here” or “Click for” – This confuses students who utilize a screen reader or are visually impaired. The best practice is instead to do something like, “Please see the following link for more information about WebAIM’s Platform on Accessibility“.
  • Make your links descriptive – It is true that in physical documents you will want the URL typed out for a link, but doing this in electronic documents can confuse screen reader users, since the screen reader will read out the full hyperlink to them and they won’t know what it is for or where it goes to. If you want to have links work in physical and virtual environments, you could do something like: PPCC Online ( Or to be really awesome, you can use footnotes or endnotes to list your hyperlinks in one place for your students.
  • Keep your links underlined – Links were designed to be underlined, since it is a common visual indicator that the link is a link.
  • Provide context to your links – It is a best practice to have descriptive links and provide a narrative for your students as to why they should click on the link and what they will gain from that resource.
  • Note if the link is to a PDF or Word Document – You can do in your description of the link or in the link itself, for example: Course Syllabus (PDF).
  • No need to state “link” – If you put link in the name of a link, screen reader users will get to the link and it will say, “Link… Link to the UCLA Blog”. So, putting link in the name of your links is just causing you more work that is unnecessary.

Example of an accessible link

The following is an example accessible link that incorporates all of the concepts described:

How to edit links in Word?

You might be asking yourself, “How do I edit or create links in Microsoft Office? I just type the URL and it becomes a link!”.

Well, it is actually very easy to edit your hyperlinks in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel:

  1. Use your mouse to select the text you want to turn into a hyperlink, or if you have an existing hyperlink just hover your mouse over the link.
  2. Right click on the existing hyperlink or the text you have selected and select Hyperlink to create a new hyperlink, or select Edit Hyperlink to edit an existing one. Mac users will want to click on the Insert menu and then Hyperlink.
  3. A new box will display and you should notice two fields: Text to display, which is how the link will appear visually, and Address, which is the actual URL for the link.

Please see the following image for a visual of what this process looks like:

Editing Hyperlink in Microsoft
Screenshot of the process for inserting a link into a Word document, with the Hyperlink, Text to Display, and Address fields highlighted.

Video Overview

The following video from Microsoft, discusses about making links accessible in Microsoft Office:

© Microsoft Corporation


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